Father Ryan's Poems, by Abram Joseph Ryan

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Post by Danmarc » July 23rd, 2017, 7:34 am

This collection of poems from Fr Abram J. Ryan are invaluable to an anthology of the American experience. The following link outlines his life and work thereby laying the grounds of how important he is and his poetry in American culture.


For a condensed picture, he was the son of poor Scottish immigrants who made their new home in the southern states. As a young seminarian he as well as his younger brother met great prejudice against Catholics in the NE with outright anti catholic hate being a paired trait of the then booming abolitionist movement. This helped to direct the new priest's sympathies toward his home in the south. Though only soft in his sympathies, his brother's death while serving the CSA lead to Fr Ryan becoming a Chaplain for the south while searching for his brother's remains to give them proper burial. Though fruitless in his search it spurred a poetic muse in his heart and led to the priest writing for the cause of the south. During and after the war he was renowned for his care of sick and wounded and those in prisons. He cared for those from both sides and went to those none would care for during epidemics. He also attracted many for his preaching. It is even noted that pastors of other faiths would even bring their whole congregation to hear him. Perhaps best known for his poem "the Conquered Banner," he helped those he ministered to accept the failure of the southern cause as well as the peaceful union to be embraced. Writing down his poems as they came to him he never intended them for fame but freely gave them away to friends. It was only in retirement and thanks to great demand that he finally attempted to compile those returned to him for that purpose. While this collection of his is certainly worthy it is also true that many where never located by him to be included. As such subsequent editions after his death included many sent in by the masses that still upheld him as a folk hero of the south.

Below are links to online copies.

Google books:


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Here is a visually cleaned up copy for reference however content has been revised and re-published by the University of South Carolina.

"If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants."
- Sir Isaac Newton

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